USC Hosts Long Beach State Tuesday
Nov. 12, 2012
TONIGHT'S GAME -- USC (1-0) will play Long Beach State (1-0) on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the Galen Center at 6:30 p.m. USC is over .500 for the first time since also starting 1-0 last season. The last time USC won its first two games of a season was the 2010-11 season and the Trojans have only started 2-0 twice in the last 11 seasons.
THE 2012-13 USC TROJANS -- USC looks to field a different team and a different brand of basketball in the 2012-13 season. Senior point guard and captain Jio Fontan returns after missing the 2011-12 season with a torn ACL and starting forwards senior Aaron Fuller and junior Dewayne Dedmon are back after injuries limited their action last season. Sophomore wing Byron Wesley returns as the only player to start all 32 games for the Trojans in 2011-12. In addition to these players, new players expected to see significant time on the court include transfers junior guard J.T. Terrell and forwards senior Eric Wise, senior Renaldo Woolridge and junior Ari Stewart. Other returning players who figure to be in the mix are senior center James Blasczyk and senior guard Greg Allen. Freshmen newcomers include guards Brendyn Taylor and Chass Bryan and forward Strahinja Gavrilovic. USC has also added center Omar Oraby a transfer from Rice, who had his waiver petition approved by the NCAA on Nov. 8 and played in the opener.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN -- There are a total of 17 players on the 2012-13 USC men's basketball roster. The Trojan team by class are: Seniors (6): Greg Allen (G), James Blasczyk (C), Jio Fontan (G), Aaron Fuller (F), Eric Wise (F) and Renaldo Woolridge (F); Juniors (6): Dewayne Dedmon (F), Daniel Munoz (G), Omar Oraby (C), Ari Stewart (F), Tyler Sugiyama (G), and J.T. Terrell (G); Sophomore (1): Byron Wesley (G/F); Freshmen (4): Zach Banner (F), Chass Bryan (G), Strahinja Gavrilovic (F) and Brendyn Taylor (G).
USC HOSTS LONG BEACH STATE TUESDAY -- The 49ers went 25-9 last season, won the Big West Conference and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. They return only one starter in wing James Ennis (10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg), but were again tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the Big West. In addition to four other returning lettermen, the 49ers have four transfers that are being counted on to provide key production, including 6-9 forward Dan Jennings (West Virginia), 6-5 guard Keala King (Arizona State), 6-7 forward Tony Freeland (DePaul) and 6-10 forward Edgar Garibay (Loyola Marymount). Only Jennings has been cleared to play by the NCAA as of Nov. 11. USC leads the all-time series with Long Beach State, 7-5, and won the last meeting 79-61 on Nov. 24, 2006. Long Beach State opened with a 75-65 win vs. North Alabama on Nov. 10. Ennis led the 49ers with 19 points.
USC OPENS WITH WIN VS. COPPIN STATE -- The Trojans wasted little time in showing their fans that it was a new season with more depth and talent and cruised to an 87-73 victory over Coppin State in the season-opener on Nov. 9 at the Galen Center. USC played 11 different players in the first eight minutes of the game, after no more than 10 players competed in any game for the Trojans last season. Byron Wesley and J.T. Terrell led the Trojans with 17 points each and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds. It was USC's fifth consecutive win in a home opener and it improved to 43-9 in the last 52 home openers.
EXPERIENCED ROSTER - USC's roster features 12 upperclassmen and a combined 326 career starts at the Division I level. If you combined all of their career scoring averages, USC as a team would score 87.8 points per game. Counting Fontan who missed last season but started in the 2010-11 season, USC returns four starters (Dedmon, Fuller and Wesley), as well as four other players in Terrell, Stewart, Wise and Woolridge which have made at least 16 career starts.
BOOST FROM THE BENCH - Coming off a season where the Trojans were playing most of the second half of the season with just six available scholarship players, the depth of the 2012-13 team really stands out. In the first game vs. Coppin State, USC scored 42.5 percent of its points (37 of 87) and had 52.3 percent of its rebounds (23 of 44) from players coming off the bench. USC's non-starters also played 33.0 percent of the game (66 of the 200 minutes).
USC SEEKING MORE CHARITY -- USC was outshot by 78 and outscored by 106 at the free throw line last season. USC made 61.0 percent of its free throws compared to 72.1 percent made by its opponents. USC's free throw shooting percentage was its lowest since making 59.8 percent in 2005 and the second-lowest in the past 64 seasons by a Trojan team. USC got off to a good start in the opener by making 21 of 28 free throw attempts (75.0 percent).